The Importance Of Supporting Employee Wellness & Mental Health In The Workplace

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

Being in charge can feel pretty amazing – most of the time. But sometimes it can be tough to make all of the decisions on your own, especially big ones that affect you, your business and your team.

Take employee health, for example. Depending on the size of your company, you are likely to provide staffers with health insurance packages to keep them at their best. But there’s much more you can do to ensure each one of your team members is achieving peak wellness, on the job and off.
Here are six ways to support them:

1. Reduce Workplace Demand
Whether you have unrealistic productivity expectations or a too-short timeline for completing tasks, your workplace demands could be causing your team stress. And stress is tough on the body — it can cause everything from headaches to insomnia to heartburn and stomachaches to depression.

So, evaluate the work pipeline within your company to find expectations that are slightly too stringent. You could also reach out to your staff for suggestions on where leniency should be applied. Then, watch as the team collectively relaxes and more happily gets to work without all the stress.

2. Encourage Breaks
Working eight hours a day without a break may be the corporate norm, but that type of workplace will never encourage employee wellness. A sedentary lifestyle has a slew of noted adverse side effects. Your staff might feel restless or distressed; they will also be more susceptible to certain cancers, high blood sugar and a painful lower back.

So, make sure your team is taking their breaks. Encourage them to take lunch away from their desks, and make it clear they can take a few minutes when they feel they need or want to stand up, walk around, chat with a work friend, etc. As a boss, this will benefit you, too — breaks tend to boost a person’s productivity, which means your team will deliver the results you seek.

3. Include Financial Training
A whopping 76 percent of Americans admit that money is the primary cause of their stress. On top of that, 86 percent of human resources professionals found that personal-finance stress affected workplace performance.

So, you can increase employee wellness and improve their attitudes on the job by teaching them the merits of healthy personal finance. Of course, you don’t have to do it yourself — perhaps you could plan a lunchtime lecture with someone who specializes in this area. Or, you could buy a company membership to a financial service that helps your team to budget, save, manage debt, etc. Whatever you come up with, one thing is for sure — you will help many people manage their money and find peace of mind, which is an incredible wellness tool.

4. Serve Healthy Snacks
Every workplace is different — some serve lunch daily, while others provide snacks during important meetings only. Wherever your office lands on the snack-and-food spectrum, you can encourage wellness by ensuring you supply healthy bites to team gatherings.

So, rather than scooping up a box of donuts for a morning conference, try serving protein-filled egg sandwiches or setting up a build-your-own Greek yogurt parfait bar. Swap pizza lunches for a salad bar. And skip on any sweets that’ll lead staffers to crash after their sugar high. That way, you can ensure you’re contributing to their wellness with hearty, healthy fuel.

5. Plan Social Events — and Make Them Active
It’s important for co-workers to spend time socializing with one another. After all, we spend 40 or more hours a week in the office, collaborating to achieve a collective task. That becomes an impossible to-do without trust, care or respect between colleagues.

So, encourage your team to spend time together outside of work so that they’re happier and more social on the job. You can go the traditional route with an office dinner or happy hour. Or, you could make this task a double-whammy of wellness by organizing an active event for your staff. You could sign up willing participants for a recreational sports league, or you could hire a fitness instructor to come into the office for a communal yoga or workout class.

These sorts of events will beget wellness in direct and indirect ways. Of course, a group workout will promote good health. But building friendships around the office will probably motivate staff members to take their lunches together or break every so often for a chat — and we already know how great a break can be for a person’s state of mind.

6. Subsidize Healthy Purchases
Finally, if you want to motivate your team to be better both inside and out, offer to help them in their quests. For example, some companies arm their staffers with step counters, so they’re inspired to walk more and get more exercise. Others might pay for part of an anti-smoking treatment so team members can break their addiction to cigarettes. You could cover a portion of their gym memberships, health insurance plans, etc. With the promise of financial help, you will undoubtedly encourage someone to improve their well-being.

Make Them Happy and Healthy
You have the power to make so many things happen. And, we promise, you’ll feel extra proud when you’re able to help your team boost their wellness, reduce their stress levels and finally kick a bad habit. So, get started today — you’ll soon have a group of happy, healthy employees ready to work hard for you because you worked hard for them! PSECU, a credit union in Pennsylvania, put together the infographic below on the potential benefits of corporate wellness programs.

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